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WIU Alumnus Denver Murphy will perform with "Starlifter" during Homecoming 2017 at Western. The concert, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 in Q-Lot, is open free to the public.
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"Starlifter' has performed throughout the world.
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Homecoming Performance to Feature WIU Alumnus in 'Starlifter'

August 28, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – A United States Air Force Band of Mid-America's pop group, "Starlifter," which includes 2010 Western Illinois University alumnus Denver Murphy as a vocalist, will perform at WIU's Homecoming celebration at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 in Q-Lot. The BCA show is open free to the public.

Murphy, who received his bachelor's degree from Western in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA), is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. At WIU, Murphy also minored in music. He is also an alumnus of the distinguished Environmental Conservation and Outdoor Education Expedition (ECOEE) field studies program at WIU (2010).

Prior to enlistment, Murphy was the arts and culture recreation coordinator with the City of Unalaska/Port of Dutch Harbor (AK), in addition to various roles including voice studio instructor, arts administrator and voice-over artist.

"As a Regional Bandsman in the world's greatest Air Force, we deploy with a particular mission – to inspire our troops with a taste of home, honor our proud military heritage and build relationships with international communities and our coalition partner nations," said Murphy.

"Starlifter" recently returned from a three-month deployment in Southwest and Central Asia in support of operations Inherent Resolve and Resolute Support. The group visited six countries, entertaining and raising the morale of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen, coalition forces and civilians.

"Major highlights (of the trip) included Astana World's Fair and Expo; a community concert at the foot of Bayterek Tower; several Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations; a collaboration with the Doha Singers; a summer camp show in Kazakstan; a children's mission in Djibouti and more," said Murphy. "We were also featured on major media outlets in Bahrain, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Perhaps my single most distinct performance was of our National Anthem in the presence of our ambassador and the prime minister of Uzbekistan, celebrating our National Day. I believe our work was no doubt effective in advancing our mission and goodwill throughout that region of the world."

Before his deployment began in March, Murphy said he wed "the woman of my dreams, Mallory." He added that his time at WIU helped ready him for his career path.

"I would be remiss if I failed to mention how my journey at Western Illinois University helped prepare me for future excellence," said Murphy. "My faith, skills and abilities were tested and honed. The faculty, activities and opportunities throughout the Macomb community are so very unique and contain great potential for anyone who searches hard enough."

"Starlifter" is a seven-piece group of Airman Musicians who perform pieces ranging from rock and pop to jazz and country, as well as contemporary and traditional patriotic songs. The group is a component of the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America, the musical ambassador of the Air Mobility Command. Formerly known as the Air Force Band of Mid-America, the Military Airlift Command Band and the AMC Band of Mid-America, the United States Air Force band of Mid-America was established in 1942 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

In 1960, the band began working from its present home at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, as the principal representative of the Military Air Transport Service and the Military Airlift Command, both predecessors of Air Mobility Command. The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America, and its component units, perform more than 400 engagements for over one million people.

"Starlifter" is named for the C-141Starlifter transport jet.

For more information about the group, visit

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